PROJEKTEProjekte von Gemalten Gestalten, Skulpturen und Skalenmodellierung

BBQ’d Rolling Pin - Cobblestone Roads

I have often hankered for a set of modular cobblestone road sections for use with my 28mm WW2 (Bolt Action) project. The visual effect of cobblestone adds a certain level of detail and intricacy to an urban tabletop, more so than gravel or paved roads. I prefer to scratch-build as much as possible, not only due to cost but also because I enjoy the creative process. With this in mind I embarked on a grand experiment to construct a set of modular cobblestone road sections in 28mm scale.

My first hurdle to overcome was how to mass produce a cobblestone pattern in an easy and affordable manner. I considered several options, including cutting small cobble shaped pieces of card and laying them like mosaic (far too effort intensive), scoring the pattern by hand into the base (would not look as nice, and too dangerous). I ultimately settled on finding a way of impressing a cobblestone pattern into a soft medium.

For my experiment I ended up choosing 1/8" office floor tiles. At $0.88 for a 12"x12" tile, this would be the most cost effective option. These tiles are easy to cut, using a box cutter to score a line and then simply breaking the tile carefully along the score.

Kategorie: Modeling and sculpture Terrains Landscapes Modern

The medium

The medium onto which I would impress the cobblestone pattern required some experimentation. I wanted something cost effective to purchase in bulk, so green stuff was out of the question. This left me several obvious options to play with: plaster, air dry clay, and oven bake clay. I immediately discovered that the plaster was unsuited to the task, being too thin and sticky. The air dry clay looked promising, but was not durable enough, even after a glazing agent was applied. I require all my gaming terrain to be very durable, enough to withstand the punishment from my "bear paws". This left me with the oven bake clay, which required more experimentation in and of itself. By applying a thin layer of over bake clay with my hands over a tile base, I was able to create the perfect medium for the rolling pin.







In conducting these experiments I found that in order to get the best texture on the medium, I required some sort of lubricant on the rolling pin to prevent the clay from sticking to it. I experimented with silicon based spray lubricant, butter flavoured cooking spray, and WD-40 all purpose lubricating agent, among others. The silicon product was entirely ineffective, but the cooking spray and WD-40 had promise. These two proceeded to the next level of testing.

Baking the road tiles

My first tests at baking the road tiles was by using the convection oven in my kitchen, though this was only able to reach a fraction of the required 1000 degree heat required for the clay. Regardless, a few minutes at 500 degrees was enough to bake the clay, mainly because it was in such a thin layer on the tile. This was when I realized that baking floor tile in an oven in an enclosed kitchen with limited ventilation was probably not conducive to my health; the fumes were unpleasant. However, I did discover that the baking of the clay warped the tiles considerably, with the edges bowing up at least an inch. This would have spelt a failure to this experiment, if I had not noticed that the tile was also very soft and pliable. I took the warped but soft tile onto the kitchen counter, between layers of tin foil, and placed a glass baking dish filled with ice water on top to flatten it out. This had the dual effect of flattening the warped sections and rapidly cooling it so it hardened in a flat position.

The result was a nearly completely unwarped road tile with a cobblstone pattern. The process of warping and then rapidly cooling did serve to create some cracks on the clay surface, but these could easily be incorporated into the texture of the tile and possibly covered up with another medium. Though the oven bake clay was quite durable, I wanted to create a rock-hard surface. I applied a glaze of "modge podge" (appropriated from my wife's craft cupboard), essentially super-thick PVA glue. This was when I discovered the key difference between lubricating agents. The WD-40 seems to have burnt away completely during the baking process, leaving no residue on the clay afterwards. The cooking spray however left a thin oily film on the clay, preventing the glaze from adhering. The choice of lubricants was thus made, I also had WD-40 in large amounts.

Sidewalk Tiles and Mass Production





In upscaling this experiment to mass production, a few key changes were made to the process. Due to the lack of proper ventilation in my kitchen, and the lamentations of my wife, I moved the baking portion of the process to my BBQ. Though this could not quite reach the temperature of the convection oven, it would most certainly be safer and easier to clean in case of any mess. This change did create some problems, as the hot grill left some indentations on the bottoms of several pieces. Another change was the addition of a gravel paste (similar to what I use to base my miniatures) on areas of the cobblestone that became too cracked from the baking. This had the dual effect of covering these blemishes as well as breaking up the cobble texture in a pleasant way. I also found that any remaining warping could be fixed by heating the tile with a heat gun and weighing down with a heavy flat object, in my case a leftover piece of marble counter-top.





Mass Production 2






I also created a set of crated road sections, having had a couple of tiles come out of the baking process with irreparable damage on significant portions of the cobble surface. Mixing drywall plaster with a small amount of construction sand for texture I covered these blemishes with a healthy dose of this mush. I used a light bulb to create the crater shape, pressing it down into the plaster. After baking the roads I was left with a small bag of chipped off clay cobblestones. I pressed these into the wet plaster craters to create the illusion of stray cobblestones being mixed in with the rubble. These crated sections will add some depth to the roads, as well as act as obstacles and cover in a game.











Over the space of about 2 hours I was able to cut, apply the clay, texture, and bake about twenty feet of cobblestone road sections. Using a modular system of measurements I was able to tie in the sizing of the road sections with the planned basing system for my buildings (stay tuned for a future post on the subject). With this set of roads I can create an innumerable array of potential urban battlefields, and as my collection of buildings grows this potential will only do the same. I am not limited to WW2 with this set of roads, they would easily be suitable for a wide array of historical settings.
















I hope you enjoyed this article, and I do hope that you check out Green Stuff World; they have products for every scratchbuilder.

Anonymous User 2016-05-09 12:14:38

OMG!! Amazing work !!!